Whether you need to store your vehicle long-term or just through the winter or summer seasons, there are several things you can do to keep your car safe in storage. Read on for our tips on prepping your vehicle for indoor or outdoor storage.

How to Keep Your Vehicle Safe in Storage

Whether you plan to utilize indoor car storage or an outdoor parking space for your vehicle, there are many things you should do to prevent damage and avoid future maintenance issues. Read on to learn more about what you should do before placing your vehicle in long-term storage.

Wash Your Car

Make sure you know how to correctly wash a car to remove mud, dust, and dead bugs from the exterior, as long-term exposure to these things can damage the paint. In addition to cleaning the body of the car, be sure to clean the wheels and the fender, removing any debris that has collected. Once you’re completely finished, add a protective wax to help keep the vehicle clean and shiny.

Before storing your vehicle in storage be sure to wash your car, clean the wheels, and wax the exterior.

Clean the Car’s Interior

To clean your vehicle’s interior, begin by removing trash and vacuuming the seats and floor, seat pockets, and side door nooks. Then wipe down the steering wheel, cup holders, controls, and windows. Having a clean car interior before storage is important for preventing unfavorable odors or pests.

Before storing your car be sure to pick up trash, vacuum seats and floor, and wipe down surfaces.

Change the Oil

If you plan on storing your car for more than a month, you will want to get an oil change, whether it’s due for one or not. If car oil sits idle for too long, it can degrade and cause a number of issues, including damage to your engine.

Top off the Gas

If you’re storing your car for more than 30 days, be sure to fill its tank with gas to help prevent moisture and rust from collecting in the fuel tank. You can also add a fuel stabilizer to prevent the gas from deteriorating and ruining your car’s fuel line and engine.

Check Other Car Fluids

In addition to changing the engine’s oil, all car fluids should be checked and topped off before storage. If the antifreeze, brake fluid, coolant, or power steering fluids are low, be sure to fill them to appropriate levels to prevent corrosion and rust.

Do Proper Wheel Care

When getting your vehicle ready for storage, check the tire pressure. If your car is left stationary for an extended period of time, tires can develop flat spots due to the weight of the vehicle pressing down on the tires. To prevent flat spots and deflated tires, either take the wheels off entirely or inflate the tires to the proper level before putting your car on jack stands.

Before storing your car be sure to inflate tires to correct pressure.

Remove the Car Battery

If a car is stored for more than four weeks with the battery connected, the battery can die from sitting idle. Additionally, if your battery is exposed to cold temperatures in storage, its ability to hold a charge can be negatively affected. To help avoid a costly replacement and extend its shelf life, it’s best to disconnect your car battery and keep it in a stable environment before placing your vehicle in storage.

Keep Rodents Out of Your Car

The first step to keeping rodents out of your car is to close all openings in your vehicle, including the intake and exhaust pipes. Additionally, make sure there are no food crumbs left in the interior. Other precautionary measures to repel rodents from your car include placing sound repellents, rodent and mouse traps, and scents like peppermint oil. Preventing rodents and insects is especially important if you store your vehicle outside.

Don’t Use the Parking Brake

If you’ll be storing your vehicle long-term, you should avoid using the parking brake, as the brake pads and rotors can fuse together after an extended period of time. Instead, you may want to purchase a tire stopper to ensure your vehicle does not roll while in storage.

Use a Car Cover

Using a breathable, waterproof car cover is especially important when storing your vehicle outdoors, as it can help protect your vehicle from weather damage, moisture, and UV rays. Though indoor vehicle storage reduces the risk of damage from inclement weather, using a car cover is still a good idea to maximize protection from dust, moisture, and more.

Frequently Asked Questions About Car Storage Safety

Can You Park a Car in a Storage Unit?

Yes, you can park a car in a storage unit. The size of the storage unit needed will depend on the vehicle. Small vehicles such as cars, motorcycles, and small boats can be stored in drive-up storage units.

How Long Does a Car Battery Last Without Driving?

A car battery lasts from 2-4 weeks without being driven. If you plan to store your vehicle long-term, a battery can die after sitting idle for 3-4 weeks. That is why it is so important to remove the battery before storing it inside or outside long-term.

How Do I Choose the Right Unit Size for My Car?

When choosing your vehicle storage solution, consider your vehicle’s size. For small vehicles like motorcycles, a 5×10 drive-up storage unit may be sufficient, whereas a car may need a 10×15 or 10×20 unit. Oversized outdoor vehicles like boats, trailers, or RVs are best suited to uncovered or covered parking spaces ranging from 20 to 30 feet long.

How to Prevent Flat Spots on Tires During Storage?

To help prevent deflated tires or flat spots while your vehicle is in storage, you should inflate the tires to the proper level, then raise the car up on jacks or blocks. Whether you’re storing a car inside or outside, lifting your car up while it’s in storage alleviates some pressure on the tires, helping to maintain their quality.

How Do I Repel Mice From My Car?

There are several ways to keep mice out of your car, including placing copper wires over your exhaust pipes, keeping the interior of your car clean, and placing mouse traps inside the car. Mice can chew wires, damage your car engine, ruin your seat’s interior upholstery, and more, so it’s important to keep them at bay.

Should You Fill a Car’s Gas Tank Before Storage?

You should fill a car’s gas tank before storage to avoid moisture from collecting inside the tank and corrosion and rust from building up in the fuel lines. Be sure to add a fuel stabilizer to your car’s tank of gas to keep it fresh and in good condition while in storage.


Need to store your car? Life Storage offers indoor and outdoor vehicle storage options. Rent a storage unit for your car today!

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